Structural bioinformatics analysis of enzymes involved in the biosynthesis pathway of the hypermodified nucleoside ms(2)io(6)A37 in tRNA

Proteins. 2008 Jan 1;70(1):1-18. doi: 10.1002/prot.21640.


TRNAs from all organisms contain posttranscriptionally modified nucleosides, which are derived from the four canonical nucleosides. In most tRNAs that read codons beginning with U, adenosine in the position 37 adjacent to the 3' position of the anticodon is modified to N(6)-(Delta(2)-isopentenyl) adenosine (i(6)A). In many bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, this residue is typically hypermodified to N(6)-isopentenyl-2-thiomethyladenosine (ms(2)i(6)A). In a few bacteria, such as Salmonella typhimurium, ms(2)i(6)A can be further hydroxylated to N(6)-(cis-4-hydroxyisopentenyl)-2-thiomethyladenosine (ms(2)io(6)A). Although the enzymes that introduce the respective modifications (prenyltransferase MiaA, methylthiotransferase MiaB, and hydroxylase MiaE) have been identified, their structures remain unknown and sequence-function relationships remain obscure. We carried out sequence analysis and structure prediction of MiaA, MiaB, and MiaE, using the protein fold-recognition approach. Three-dimensional models of all three proteins were then built using a new modeling protocol designed to overcome uncertainties in the alignments and divergence between the templates. For MiaA and MiaB, the catalytic core was built based on the templates from the P-loop NTPase and Radical-SAM superfamilies, respectively. For MiaB, we have also modeled the C-terminal TRAM domain and the newly predicted N-terminal flavodoxin-fold domain. For MiaE, we confidently predict that it shares the three-dimensional fold with the ferritin-like four-helix bundle proteins and that it has a similar active site and mechanism of action to diiron carboxylate enzymes, in particular, methane monooxygenase (E.C. that catalyses the biological hydroxylation of alkanes. Our models provide the first structural platform for enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of i(6)A, ms(2)i(6)A, and ms(2)io(6)A, explain the data available from the literature and will help to design further experiments and interpret their results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Computational Biology*
  • Enzymes / chemistry*
  • Enzymes / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Folding
  • RNA, Transfer / biosynthesis*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Enzymes
  • RNA, Transfer